As energy rates continue to increase, you may be on the lookout for tips to cut back your usage and save money. While larger investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems absolutely make your home more efficient, you can cut energy costs today with little to no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Replace Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter monthly and change it when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by encouraging efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will quickly feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature around 70 degrees or lower in the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or higher for the summer. Then, choose clothes that suit the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. This affordable replacement pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re away or in bed. Automatic temperature recovery means you save money without ever losing your sense of comfort. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance delivers a good return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system performs more efficiently than one that's left alone. You also lessen the risk of malfunctions and the necessary repair costs. Additionally, your equipment is more likely to run for a few years more when you take good care of it today.
5. Uncover and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever a couple of building materials are connected. Try to find and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a couple of tips:
- Try to replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
In the summer, the goal is to block solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is a convenient way to do this. If your budget has room, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By looking for deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade for the summer while still enabling the sun to heat your home for free in the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this important resource and save on your water bills with some tips:
- Take short showers rather than long baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when you're shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Deal with drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes right away.
8. Keep Electronics Off
Plug computers, printers, TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and other electronics into power strips. This way, you can shut them off with the flip of a switch when they aren't being used. While you’re at it, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs around the house? Replace them with LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline since LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Lower costs with any of these tips: Shut windows and doors when starting the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Don't use the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when you're able to. Heat food in the microwave rather than the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If the utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” strive to use any appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Lowering Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures relate directly to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help applying these tips, contact R & M Climate Control Service Experts. We offer affordable maintenance and repair work, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will suit your budget. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local R & M Climate Control Service Experts office today.